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Breaking into Bowen

Bowen Therapy

by Brian Smart

Bowen Therapy is a dynamic and powerful additional modality for a complementary health care practitioner to have in their tool box.

Bowen Therapy is a soft tissue rolling and stretching technique, applied on the skin (or through clothes) using your fingers or thumbs, almost always manipulating the soft tissues as near as practical to 90 degrees across the fibres that you wish to have the greatest effect upon”.

Many or most of the sites that we apply Bowen Therapy moves to, happen to be the previously mapped trigger points or acupuncture points on the body, thus allowing us to utilize much of the theory from these excellent complementary health care modalities to help explain some of the very profound effects Bowen has on both the human and animal body. 

Bowen Therapy can be quite clearly separate from massage because no lubricating oil is used, nor are the hands kept in constant contact with the person’s skin throughout the treatment session. In fact practitioners are encouraged to have short breaks away from the person to allow their body to respond in the best possible way to the moves applied.

It is also not physiotherapy, as no mechanical or electronic devices are used during the treatment process, Nor is it chiropractic, as practitioners do not manipulate bones or joint structures at all, just the soft tissues of the body such as the muscles, tendons, ligaments and of course fascia. So you can see it’s probably easier to explain what Bowen isn’t rather than what it is!!

Many of the Bowen Therapy moves are applied directly to the active, satellite and latent trigger points and or acupuncture points on the body selected specifically according to the client’s presenting problems. In clinical practice I have found this to be a very successful way of treating musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction and organic issues. Bowen Therapists are able to stimulate the body to self-correct many of the musculoskeletal problems that we see on a daily basis including lower back pain, neck pain, headaches and migraines along with loss of range of movement of joints and limbs and many sports type injuries to name just a few.

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture theories and concepts for treatments have been used in more recent times for the development of Bowen remedial procedures. This has shown to be extremely beneficial with many new moves and procedures now being taught.  I am also aware that Tom Bowen did have some books on acupuncture, acupressure and shiatsu and he may well have used these to assist in the development of his work.

SMART BOWEN® Therapy is a leader in the development of Bowen Therapy and runs training seminars across Australia based mostly on the book “Smart Bowen Therapy – The Practitioners Guide” which is available from the web site

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